Perhaps you’ve heard before that if you want to sell your house, when someone is coming for a showing, you should have fresh bread baking in the oven. If the scent of delightfulness is strong enough, people will pay full price without a counter offer. Well, okay, I doubt that is really true, but I’ll bet that a good smell wafting through the house does make people more favorable to some sort of purchase. Smells have a powerful effect on us. And here’s the wonderful thing: Scripture says that God can smell our prayers. And it’s like homemade bread baking in the oven to Him.
Okay, not homemade bread, but incense; however, since incense isn’t such a common thing in our culture (at least in my neck of the woods), I prefer to think about homemade bread, or maybe a lovely perfume on the wife of my youth. Whatever you want to compare it to, God apparently likes the smell of our prayers…
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Revelation 5:8 (ESV)
And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Revelation 8:3-4 (ESV)
Golden bowls full of wonderful smells – that is how our Heavenly Father thinks of our prayers. But why does He delight so much when we seek Him? Well, for one, God delights to be trusted in. But an even greater reason may be that He just plain likes being with you.
Pastor R.T. Kendall (successor to D. Martyn Lloyd Jones at Westminster Chapel in London) relates the story he heard from an evangelist named J. John. The evangelist was in the company of a woman named Sister Theresa (not the famous one) noted for giving a prophetic word and so, he asked her for one. She took some time but came back with a long list of very accurate items regarding him and his ministry. But the last thing she said changed his life:
“God likes your company and asks that you give Him two hours of your time every day.”
God likes your company. Indeed, He not only loves you. He also likes you. Now, by the way, I don’t think you need a prophetic word to come to an understanding of this, but apparently, the word from Sister Theresa helped the evangelist…as R.T. Kendall relates:
“J. John took her seriously, and I can tell you—he has told me more than once—he was never to be the same again. I personally think it explains, at least in part, why J. John is one of the greatest evangelists today, not just in Britain but also throughout the world.”
“What does prayer do for God? For one thing, He likes your company. I cannot imagine a greater motivation to pray than that God enjoys having me in His presence. He enjoys my company. He delights in listening to me! He doesn’t get bored with my repeated requests. He doesn’t moralize me if I get it wrong in what I ask for. He doesn’t laugh at me if I put out silly, even impertinent, requests. He never makes me feel stupid. There is no rejection, only total acceptance.”
Amen, and amen. So…start the heavenly oven, will you? Your Heavenly Father waits to delight in the smells you will send His way.